The Demographic Shift - 37
It's one of those growing-up things that you tick off as you go: graduate, get job, travel world, buy flat, get married, have 2.4 cash-draining barbarians and consign parents to dodgy private care home and remember to drag said barbarians to visit them on public holidays. Job done -- start cycle over.
To be honest, I thought the last one would be absolutely years away, but a recent family dinner has convinced me that we have arrived at this point years ahead of my back-of-cigarette-pack roadmap for life.
It was my mother's other half's birthday last month and the occasion of a family dinner. Attendance was a three-line whip and the fact that I spent a whole three days at home over Christmas does not count as a get-out clause. I swear, three days used to get you a lot more.
I hate going to these things when single so I always try to drag someone along -- it seems only fair to share such good fortune around. Alison used to be ideal for this, in that my mother liked her, but she seems to think that being married is like some kind of get-out clause so I call Susan.
"Suze, you have to come, you know what these things are like, my life will be put in the spotlight and I hate glary lights."
"No, there is no way I'm coming with you, besides the spotlight will be good for you, it will help you answer questions about your own life."
"Are you making this stuff up? Did you attend glary spotlight 101? The spotlight isn't good for anyone. Besides, you know I don't react well under such glary conditions. I come out in hives... er and make rash promises."
"You don't come out in hives and you never actually deliver on your rash promises. And I quote: 'I'll help you paint your flat'."
"Hey, I came around afterwards with wine, which is a much better deal, come on!"
"No. Your mother always gives me a funny look."
"I know, I get that too, and I have no idea what it means."
"Funny, I mean it's like she's saying 'oh look Susan's here, again'."
"I swear that's exactly what I get, I think she's trying to tell me something."
Things were going just fine until we hit dessert and they suddenly got out of hand until my mother dropped her... er, motherlode, so to speak. She said she had been taking new advice.
I thought she was going to say that she had been seeing a financial consultant about how to dodge tax and leave more cash to her children, or had read some more thrilling features in the Daily Mail, which to be honest is where she gets most of her top tips.
It's hard to be believe, but it was oh so much worse than the Daily Mail. I know that sounds really really hard to believe, but it's true, I swear. My mother has been to see a spiritualist. Not just a spiritualist, but one about me. You know, like a dating spiritualist.
"Yes, I thought the time had finally come," she told everyone, and I mean everyone, all 14 or so assembled people, which is the usual family style to reveal discreet family information.
And it wasn't just that she told everyone, it was that she made it sound the most natural thing in the world. You know, like she were ticking her off her own boxes on her life road map... radically redecorate home, holiday extensively, see spiritualist about errant offspring. Tick.
"Are you serious?"
"Oh yes, she told me to bring half a dozen items that identified you."
"Half a dozen? Are you kidding?"
No she wasn't. My mother took a number of photographs, both recent and not so recent.
"I too the graduation photo, she liked that."
"Are you kidding? No one likes that."
Don't ask, I have no idea where all the stupid questions were coming from. My graduation photo is literally the worst ever. Like officially.
"Oh she liked that one, she said more boys should have long hair."
"Really, she sounds like a very strange woman. Don't hold the table in suspense, what did she tell you."
This brought a huge satisfied grin to my mother's face, finally she could unburden herself with all the details picked up from the spiritualist.
"She told me the most important thing, the thing that all mothers want to hear."
I thought about this really hard for like two seconds, what did all mothers want to hear? Surely it had something to with weddings, grandchildren and the election of Tory governments.
"She told you when Sarah is getting married?"
"No, she said that you would be settled with 18 months. She said she was positive. All the signs were there."
"The signs? No one said there would be signs. What's that like a convergence in the force?"
"She said your life was coming to a head."
"A head? Are you sure? I don't particularly like the sound of that. Didn't she give you any details, like a telephone number? A vague description would be handy, you know like brunette/blonde? I hope it's not a blonde, I'd be kind of disappointed."
Susan sighed really loudly at this. I'm not sure why -- it's not like her hair could be any darker.
"Oh Mrs Mac, I don't suppose she gave you any clues as to what she looked like, he's so picky..." Susan started before my sister stepped in -- and by that I mean leapt.
"For someone who really has no right," she opined.
She leaned her head on her too good looking boyfriend when she did that, you know, in case I missed her point.
"Oh, you're sweet. I know you two get on like a house on fire and really, to be honest, I hope it burns down."
My mother was looking very pleased, but to be honest I was disappointed on the lack of details.
"No more details, but it will definitely happen."
"Oh that's such a shame, Gord, you will just have to date people for more than one date."
"Oh that sounds tough, I'm not even sure that's possible. I thought the whole basis for modern dating morals was 'date and dump'."
"No, Gord, that's a modern dating moral vacuum."
"Are you sure? That means my whole approach is flawed."
"Gord, you never said you had an approach," Susan says.
"I must say results would seem to bare that out," my mother says all deadpan, which makes everyone laugh.
I tell you, my mother and Susan can be so harsh at times.
The Demographic Shift is a regular column on Brand Republic